mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli
mordicai

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Imperial Hegemony. (96)

Goblins of Golarion by James Jacobs, Hal Maclean, Richard Pett, et al.

Goblins prick your feet!
Sneaking up when you asleep!
Drinking blood is neat!

My only problem with Goblins of Golarion is that it isn't a four hundred page hardcover. I mean, it is no secret that I like goblins, nor is it exactly under the radar that I like Paizo's interpretation of the little buggers. Starting with the mogwai from Gremlins would have been enough, as a stroke of brilliance, but the folks at Paizo really sell it by peppering in hooks & details, like their legendary antipathy for dogs & horses. Their stat block is sort of weak (though a +4 to dexterity is pretty nice) but you can fix it up by giving the scampering sociopaths a couple of the option racial traits listed here, like Advantageous Distraction or Strength of the Barghest. That said, the mechanics of the goblin just help tell the story-- like the +4 to Ride. That is just a slight mechanical twitch that spins out tons of options-- goblins on wolves, goblins on rats, goblins on dinosaurs, goblins on spiders...just pair them up with something & blammo. New hook. That is elegant game design. & like I said, it is the small spice of detail that really knocks it out of the park. The four barghest hero-gods of the goblins all gave them "gifts," as per most fantasy races creation story-- Zarongel's gifts of riding & arson & Zogmugot's gifts of pickling & scavanging being the best bits of their religion, if you ask me. Zogmugot's Flotsam Domain has a need little "reach into water & pull out what you need, but it is broken" power.

The idea of goblin's having a fascination with pickling is...right on the money. An easy alchemy that can be made grotesque & horrifying? Yes, that does sound pretty gobliny. Same goes for the goblinesque fascination with fireworks-- seems obvious in retrospect, & gives Narrators & Players a chance to...well, shoot rockets at stuff. I know gunpowder can be contentious, but even worlds without the technology for guns can have fireworks, especially in a fantasy setting with quasi-science of some sort. A box up in the corner mentions "Goblin Felt"-- woven from burlap & lint & flotsam, ending up the equivilent of studded leather-- that jives with me. I've done something similar, having creatures who never took off their clothing, just wore it threadbare & put on something over it, till that was ragged, then put something on over that, layers over & over. The goblin aversion for writing is present here as well-- I like the idea of a goblin spellbook made out of pictures & scrawl but no letters, just diagrams & illustrations, a scrapbook of confusing treasure for the party's spellcaster. Then of course there is the punishment the hobgoblins of Isger would visit on their goblin slaves, branding them with words. Horrible-- the book has a section on regions & Isger really stands out, as the goblins there are sort of the post-traumatic survivors of The Lord of the Rings epic & concluding war. Also, the Bulbhead tribe are pumpkinheads! I'll conclude by mentioning the goblin game "Spider, Rat, Knife," in which the rules vary wildly, but always include the eponymous objects. It reminds me of the goblin game kingtycoon created-- "Stab."
Tags: books, dnd, haiku, paizo, pathfinder
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